Police Search for Suspect in Cafe Robbery Attempt

An Eastford cafe fell victim to an armed robbery attempt Thursday afternoon when a man in his mid-20s walked in, grabbed a soda, went up to the counter and put down a gun, police said.

The suspect, wearing sunglasses, entered the cafe at 192 Eastford Road around 4:30 p.m. and walked up to the register with a soda.

"He put a very large gun on the counter," said cafe employee Jody Blanchette. "It was aimed towards me but he put it down and took his hand away."

Blanchette said the man asked her twice to open the register but she refused.

"At that point, I got my boss," Blanchette said. "I figured he was a man and he could handle it better than I could."

In his three years of running this country cafe, robberies were never on the menu for owner Brett Laffert. And he planned on keeping it that way.

"I don't know what was going through my mind, but I sort of reached for the gun," Laffert said. "I felt like for whatever reason I'd be able to take it from him. I grabbed his gun and he jerked it away and then he immediately ran for the door."

The man jumped the railing and ran toward his car behind the store. While Blanchette called the police, Laffert ran out back after the suspect.

The suspect is described as being a thin-framed white male about 5'8" to 5'10" tall. He was wearing a dark-colored shirt, blue or black shorts and a black hat.

Police believe the suspect got away in a silver Honda Accord or Civic. He was seen going up Route 198 toward Southbridge, Mass.

It's not the first armed robbery attempt in the area. The nearby First Niagara Bank and another store up the street were targeted in recent years.

State Police are searching for the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police Troop D at 860-779-4900.

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